Why is fatphobia still a problem today and what causes it?

The path to genuine acceptance is still a long one, despite the growing body positive debate and improved social sensitivity toward diversity. This is shown by the phenomenon of fatphobia, which is the root of the “stigma that surrounds people who are overweight or obese, a behavioral bias that judges people based on their weight,” and which all too frequently manifests itself in daily life, as it did this summer with many girls gave a voice with hashtag Boiler Summer Cup sharing their opinion about how they felt on being fat on the real world via tiktok but especially when it comes to fashion, where it is complicit in the aesthetics of the glossy pages that have created an image that prefers the aspirational thinness of models to the actual shapes of real people. When The dynamics that make those who do not conform to physical standards described as “beautiful” as outsiders handicapped in life by the judgments of others were captured in the films Lives on the Edge and The Biggest Loser, which depicted the phenomenon. When referring to a woman, whose body is continuously scrutinized by those who seek it and objectify it by comparing it to the aforementioned criteria, the stigma associated with the term “fat” rises. The belief that having this kind of physicality is a mistake that needs to be fixed or a sin that needs to be atoned for by abstaining from food and drinking only detox beverages, killing oneself in sports, and dressing in formless, ultra-covering clothing has nothing to do with health (as it is frequently justified), but is instead a result of systemic racism and sexism in the West, as Sabrina Strings explains in her essay “Fat Phobia.”

Without going into too much detail or going back in time, one only needs to consider the fashion of the early 2000s or Kate Moss’s 1990s heroin chic to concretize the impact of thin privilege in obscuring the critical sense of what is beautiful and what is healthy for a body. This criticism is also leveled at individuals like Lizzo or Ashley Graham who are accused of promoting an equally unhealthy lifestyle because they support a body-positive image that is automatically associated with being thin. Even now, we still struggle to embrace Marilyn’s voluptuous curves, which are perceived by the critical eye of people working with fashion today as “a horrible behind,” despite the reality that a body can be beautiful and healthy even with more than 28 percent body fat. The numerous unfortunate social phenomena that have resulted from fatphobia show how the current standard still requires thinness as a pass to fit into the category of “cool kids.” Today’s “cool kids” dress in Y2K trends with very low waists and micro-mini skirts, but despite clever styling, these outfits often end up being exclusionary styles because they emphasize the figure in an exclusive way.

Exercise of this fatphobia, whether directed at oneself or others, has been demonstrated to have negative effects. Fatphobia frequently develops into bullying and leads to a vast list of destructive behaviors toward people who, in our eyes, do not satisfy our own definition of beautiful. Weight stigma can negatively affect a person’s connection with food, mental health, ability to develop a positive body image, and social anxiety for the rest of their lives. There is yet a long way to go until we fully comprehend and accept the fact that no body is flawed, unattractive, or unpleasant. So, how do we escape it? The girls of @belledifaccia, a project created by Chiara Meloni and Mara Mibelli to raise awareness of the body positive movement and fat acceptance, point out the route. This effort has resulted in an association and a book with the same name “Beautiful face. Techniques for battling the world’s fatphobia.” Do some introspection and ask yourself, “Are we fatphobic?” as the first step. And second is to listen to marginalized people, placing them at the forefront of the conversation rather than ourselves, orienting ourselves toward a behavior of acceptance of the different, amplifying the voices of obese people without ghettoizing them, and not attributing any word to the suffering of the human soul. Finally, we need to keep pushing fashion brands for more inclusive clothing sizes and aspirational representations that include all physiques in fashion, beauty, and luxury campaigns, crush hater comments, and above all, educate ourselves on the issue in order to make things change even at the global image level as they are already doing but not enough.